Chasing Peace

I was never good at the childhood game of ‘Tag’. You know the one: A group of kids on a playground decide to play Tag. One person is ‘It’. That person has to chase the other kids until they can tag one of them.

“Tag – now you’re it!” you shout.

Being ‘It’ when you can’t cross the athletic line is not fun. Everyone else is faster, so I chase, and chase, and chase – but tagging someone feels unattainable. I gasp for breath and keep on chasing. At some point I don’t want to play any more. I know that everyone is glad I’m ‘It’. They have a better chance of never getting tagged. Every single person playing feels just out of reach of my hand. My best scenario is that others will get as tired as me, or bore of the game, but until then – I just keep chasing.

Sometimes chasing peace is like a game of tag. I chase after it but it seems just out of reach. I chase and I chase and I chase, but I can’t quite find it. I try different strategies, different methods, I envy others who seem to have more of it.

I long for peace in a world that offers chaos.

It’s exhausting trying to chase Peace.

In high school I blithely sang the song “I’ve got Peace like a river, I’ve got Peace like a river, I’ve got Peace like a river in my soul….” And I did. We sang the song loud, with energy, gusto; all of us missionary kids, all of us sure of our salvation and our peace. We were young and didn’t have to chase Peace. We knew it well, knew that it was accompanied by no less than three guitars, loud, and innocent.

Peace was in our long walks in mountain settings. Peace was in our prayers and petitions. Peace was not elusive, it was ours for the taking.

But high school was a long time ago and my world has grown increasingly complex.

And I realize I’ve tried to chase Peace. Tried so hard and so long, like I tried to catch another during my childhood games of tag. But I think I have it all wrong. I don’t think Peace can be chased.

20120811-074139.jpgI think Peace is more like chasing a butterfly – as long as I frantically chase it, it will be just out of reach, but the minute I stop, give up the chase and relax, it comes and sits on my shoulder.

And I realize that Peace comes through rest.

 

Peace comes through obedience.

Peace comes through trust.

Peace comes through service.

Peace comes through gratitude.

It’s there for the asking, but it can’t be chased. As I release my right to Peace, as I learn how to rest in where I am today, Peace comes.

8 thoughts on “Chasing Peace

  1. I’ve been looking for peace for many years. Peace4me has become part of my blog name, email address, and many log in names. First I was searching for peace after an abusive marriage. Then after losing my grandparents one after another. But the worst of all was finding peace after my mom died from pancreatic cancer. It’s been 4 years since she died. I have moments of peace, but I’ve found that my life in general is not peaceful. I live in a noisy house with 2 kids and many pets. The TV is usually in the background, along with kids games. Quiet is something that I can’t live in, so I live in controlled (for the most part) chaos. Peace of the heart and mind is something entirely different and one day hope to find. At the Christmas Eve church service though, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. Take care and thanks for sharing.

    Like

    1. I’m so sorry I missed this comment Kathy. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story with me – I’m honored to hear it. I think that when our world feels more chaotic the moments of peace are so precious. I like your distinction between quiet and peace. Well said. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      Like

  2. We spent a lot of time as kids inner-tubing on the Bai river in Papua New Guinea–shooting the rapids for about three miles before it widened to a quiet float. It was rough enough that we often went to the ‘missionary boxes’ (full of used clothes) and would layer jeans so that we wouldn’t get cut up on the rocks. And at youth group we’d sing “I’ve got peace like a river…” and I’d want to laugh. And I never really took the ‘peace’ of God seriously.

    As an adult, I’ve become a member of a peace church in Chicago–the city with the highest violent crime rate in the US. And suddenly the peace of God has become a prominent part of my prayer life. Each morning I pray that God will “stir up in me a desire to serve and to live peaceably with my neighbors.” And I’ve realized that this peace-of-God refuses to allow me to take comfort in the anonymity of the city, and demands that I know my neighbors. The peace-of-God pushes me beyond my comfort and convenience, and opens me to being in relationship with folks with whom I’d not necessarily choose to be in relationship. And then (coming full circle) I realize that the peace-of-God really is like that river: rapids and bumps and bruises at times, but also points of calm still water. Either way, the Spirit moves…

    Like

    1. LOVE this. Love it. Isn’t it funny that we pick the river analogy as a calm and steady flow instead of remembering, as you’ve done, the course of a river? Your description of the city is a description of my world here as well. Beautifully said. Thank you.

      Marilyn Gardner Sent from my iPhone

      Like

  3. A couple of days ago, I read this in the book Jesus Calling: “Do not be ashamed of your emptiness. Instead, view it as the optimal condition for being filled with My Peace.” That was so encouraging to me. I was feeling empty and inept and exhausted, but this reminder let me realize that this was a good place to be, a place where I am at the end of myself…thankfully!!

    Thanks for your analogy of tag! It was perfect! The trying and trying…on my own effort…and failing. I remember years ago I did a study of verses in the Bible about being a follower of Jesus. I wanted to see what I could do to be a better follower, and yes, I know this was silly. I remember that at the end of the study I was frustrated because I realized there was nothing I could but accept the gift of being accepted as part of God’s family. And, being a doing kind of person, I wanted to do something…the earning of the gift…and then it’s not a gift if I try to earn it:( And, I think peace is the same way. But, like Robynn said, I think it is sitting and resting in God’s presence that I find Peace. And, for me, the sitting and resting is the hard part!

    Like

Add to the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s